SILENT TEARS

Spirit broken,

depleted and defeated.

How long will this journey last?

Loss is never a straight line,

It has no timeline, no deadline.

The pain may never go,

It’s only buried beneath tombs,

And fresh memories.

Endless and unrelenting,

It just waits to explode,

Through, the crevices of our thoughts,

Draining our heart and soul.

Thanks for reading. If this piece resonated please find more of my work here, paulaslingauthor.com/blog/. You can even subscribe for updates when I publish.

The Sad Story of Sweet Fanny Adams (Sweet FA)

The Poem

It was a bright August afternoon,

when she met her end.

The smell of soft loamy earth,

flying leaves dressed in scarlet and gold.

The question is, what did sweet Fanny do?

Why was she so worthless?

If she were alive today she would be shocked,

because the answer is nothing.

Her smile was warm with a hint of shyness,

innocent and eight she was slain,

a crime so barbaric it shook England to the core.

On that dreadful day when three little girls went out to play,

only two would return.

This wasn’t how it was supposed to be,

why must mothers say goodbye?

The man in the black coat

offered her a halfpenny that glistened in the sun.

And Later that day he wrote in his diary,

I killed a little girl.

She was found dismembered, her head on two poles.

So, tell me why is sweet Fanny Adams so worthless?

More from Paul: https://amzn.to/2IldTt2

A Minute To Improve Your Writing Forever

These Tips Will Improve Your Writing Forever

Delete the word ‘that.’
At least 90% of the time you use the word ‘that’ can be removed from your writing and it will instantly strengthen your sentence.
Example: ‘You believe that I’m lying, but I’m not.’ becomes ‘You believe I’m lying, but I’m not.’
 
Delete the words ‘I think.’
It adds nothing. Remove it to strengthen your point.
Example: ‘I think this is a good sentence.’ becomes ‘This is a good sentence.’
 
Avoid words that end in ‘-ing.’
In most cases, the ‘-ing’ softens your word and adds no value. Your writing will read better if you avoid it.
Example: ‘The experiences we’re seeking end up being underwhelming and even disappointing.’ becomes ‘The experiences we seek often underwhelm and disappoint.’
 
Short sentences. Short paragraphs.
Most sentences can be cut in half. Don’t be afraid to have a two- or three-word sentence.
Keep paragraphs to less than three sentences.
White space is your reader’s friend.
Shrink your opening sentence.
Make it interesting, but keep it short and conversational.
Example: ‘This is a post that’s going to help you become a better writer.’ becomes ‘I can help you.’

HIS KISS

I reach over to see if he’s there. The bed is still warm where he had been lying. I pretend to be asleep when I hear the bedroom door open. The room fills with the aroma of coffee and the floorboards creak, as he slinks into the bed next to me. He leans over and kisses my cheek. ‘Come on sleeping beauty, wake up, or we’re going to miss it.’

    Smiling, I tell him. ‘When I agreed to this, I didn’t think it would be at 4 am.’

    ‘I promise you. It will be worth it.’

    I smile. ‘And if it’s not?’

    He laughs. ‘Then I’ll never watch a football match again.’

    ‘You promise?’

    Crossing his fingers, he tells me. ‘I promise.’

    I get dressed in the dark, pulling on my jeans and white linen shirt. Although it’s June, it’s still chilly.

He kisses me on the lips, and we leave the cottage. With no sun to burn it off, the lane is shrouded in a silver mist. My boots crunch on the gravel as we head for the beach. Seeing I’m cold, he stops, puts his arms around me, and kisses me on the forehead. Five minutes later, we reach our destination.

    Reaching the empty beach, he puts down a blanket. ‘I can’t believe you’ve never done this before.’

    ‘Getting up at this hour is not something I like to make a habit of.’

My eyes welcome the sunrise, its golden light dribbling over the sea like honey. We sit there in silence. It was one of those moments that doesn’t happen often, but when they do, they must be treasured.

I tell him. ‘That was something special.’

    ‘I told you so.’

    ‘It was so perfect.’

    ‘So, I can still keep watching the football then?’

    ‘I’m never watching TV again. This what want to see.’

    ‘Well, you’ll have to get up earlier.’

    ‘It’s a promise. It will be worth it.’

    He asks me. ‘Want to go swimming?’

    I smile, ‘Come on, then.’

    I peel off my clothes. ‘Are you coming in?’

    ‘You go ahead. I want to remember this forever.’

    ‘OK, don’t be long.’

    I walk into the water. It was cold. Much colder than I thought. I turn back to tell him to be careful, but he’s not watching. He’s lying lifeless on the sand.

That’s when my dream turned into a nightmare.

     Our life became doctor appointment after doctor appointment and hospital visit after hospital visit. Until the visits stopped. Because they were not needed. I cried as I’d never cried before. I cried at his funeral. For days and weeks, I cried as though grief had taken over my life. I hated waking up by myself. I hated there wasn’t the smell of coffee in the morning.

     Suddenly I woke up. It was the same dream I had every night.

Our last day together. Each time I woke up, I would swear I heard the door opening and could smell the coffee, but the flat was empty.

I could feel the kiss in my dreams every night. Except this time, something was different. I put my hand to my cheek, and it was cold as if a ghost kissed me on the cheek. I smiled, knowing he was still there.

THE SAD STORY OF MARY ANN BEVAN  

Mary Ann Bevan, a beautiful woman, turned into what many people considered the ‘ugliest woman in the world.’

Mary was born in 1874. With her family comprising eight children, the older children were sent off to work in order to keep everyone fed. Once she finished her medical studies, she became a nurse in 1894.

In 1903, she got married to Thomas Bevan with whom she established a family of four children. The family were living in prosperous times within London. Three years later, in 1906, Mary was hit with a rare disease that medics at the time knew little about acromegaly.

This rare disease is a hormonal sickness that is provoked by the somatotroph hormone. In simpler terms, the hormone that helps our bodies grown and develop. The disease usually shows up after the patient hits puberty and it makes the bones of the body enlarge, usually two to three times bigger than usual.

Acromegaly affects 6 in 100,000 people, so it isn’t as rare as people often say, but for Mary, the disease was quite severe as it affected her whole body.

Besides the growth of bones, this disease can affect the whole body, which means even the organs such as the kidney, liver, heart, and everything below the belt. Today, this disease can be easily treated if caught in time, but at the start of the 20th century, medicine wasn’t advanced enough to even know what provoked the disease.

In the next years, Mary Ann suffered drastic physical changes as the disease affected her whole body. In a matter of five years, she was unrecognizable. The disease was to become the least of Mary’s problems. Thomas, her husband, although wondering what was happening with his beautiful wife, he always stood by her side no matter the way she looked. But in 1914 Thomas died from a stroke, not only leaving Mary Ann when she needed him the most but also leaving four children behind.

Her disease, or most likely the way she looked, caused her to lose her job, leaving her jobless whilst trying to raise four children by herself. Because of her physical aspect, it was very difficult to find a job, so she was taking all the worst jobs out there in order to keep her children fed.

Things didn’t turn for the better as debts were piling up and she was running out of solutions. That is why she was forced by her predicament to join the contest for the ugliest woman in the world where she actually won first place. This although not being great, helped her raise enough money to get out of debt and feed her children for some time.

The media, at the time took advantage of her situation and paid her small amounts in order to take photos and write horror stories about her. If there was a contest for the best mother in the world, it would probably go to Mary as she was doing all of this for her children. Because of the media attention she attracted, she was invited to work at the Dreamland Circus in Coney Island in 1920.

This circus was well known for its ‘freaks’ so at least she fitted in with the rest of the people. However, this circus was cruel as people would laugh at her, they would call her ugly names, and worst of all, she had to wear clothes that would put her problems in the spotlight.

Mary had to walk a long way to get to these shows and in the way, she would be called by the local’s things like freak or monster and was sometimes even beaten for her appearance. All of this was to see her children grow. For the rest of her life, Mary Ann took part in these shows until the 26th of December 1933, when she died from natural causes. Mary is buried in the Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery.

Paul Asling – Author

Born and raised in London in the fifties. I share a special love for London, both new and old. I began writing at 40, with most of my books and stories set London.

For those who seek a story of crime and love. MY BOOKS WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH, CRY, AND HAVE YOU GRIPPED THROUGHOUT.

https://amzn.to/3qoTx3A

SEVERED HEADS ON LONDON BRIDGE

‘To ensure longevity, the heads were parboiled and coated in pitch.’

At the southern end of London Bridge, there’s a curious looking grey spike sculpture projecting up into the sky. While most people walk past it, the feature has a great deal of historical meaning as it memorialises a dark period of over 300 years when traitors’ heads were put on spikes for all of London to see.

The severed heads served as a warning to anyone thinking of challenging the Crown. And at the same time, the heads became a tourist attraction, drawing visitors from far and wide. To ensure longevity, the heads were parboiled and coated in pitch.

In 1598 a German visitor to London called Paul Hentzner counted over 30 heads on iron spikes at the south end of the bridge. Once put on the spike of London Bridge, they were left to the elements to rot and eventually fell into the Thames.

The rebellious Scot, William Wallace’s head, is thought to be the first to be pinned there in 1305. The Scot was found guilty of leading a campaign against Edward I. After the beheading, his body was torn to pieces. His head was set on London Bridge. His arms and legs were sent to the four corners of Britain as a warning.

In 1450 Jack Cade led a rebel army, but failed to overthrow the government. So, they put his head up on London Bridge for all to see. His attempt was crushed, because he lost the support of the people, after having raped many of the locals in the City.

Later came Thomas Moore, who refused to accept Henry VIII as the supreme head of the Church of England. Then Guy Fawkes’ head made the stake after the Gun-Powder plot of 1605. And when the King was restored after Cromwell’s reign, some of those who had signed the death warrant of Charles I also suffered this chilling fate.

The Keeper of the Heads had full managerial control over this section of the Bridge. He impaled newly removed heads on pikes and tossed the old ones into the river. When the original bridge was pulled down, workers found skulls in the mud. They ended the practice in 1678 when the heads of the most important traitors were displayed at Temple Bar instead.

As an author I share a special love for London, both new and old. Basing my literature on London and its unique gritty character.

For more stories: https://amzn.to/2IldTt2

THE HEART-RENDING STORY OF THE FOUR-LEGGED WOMAN

Myrtle Corbin was called a monster, but her life was a story of kind-heartedness and warmth.

Mother nature is impossible to understand. It gifts and curses according to its own whims and desires, and we have no say in its matters. We are given a body at birth and we have to live out our days in it. It is neither fair nor justifiable that one person is born with a perfect genetic composition into a rich family, while someone else is born with multiple hereditary diseases into a poor family. That, however, is life, and there is nothing that can be done about it.

Myrtle was born in May 1868. There were complications in her birth since she was born in the breech position. This can often result in complications for both the child and the mother. Both mother and baby survived the birth. Myrtle was born a very healthy baby. There was only one thing odd about her; from the waist down, she had two bodies.

She had four legs, combined with their separate private parts, and a single upper body. Medical researchers tried their best to understand her condition, and each one of them gave it their own complex name. A doctor even used the word ‘monster,’ describing her as a ‘female, belonging to the mono cephalic class of monsters by fusion.’

Myrtle became a performer in a sideshow circuit when she was only 13 years old. She was named ‘The Four-Legged Woman’ and was marketed as ‘gentle of disposition as the summer sunshine and as happy as the day is long.’

What was truly unique about her was the fact that she could do everything a normal person could do, and her two extra legs disabled her in no way whatsoever. Although she could move her two shorter legs in the centre, they were far too weak to carry her weight. However, she could walk perfectly well with her two outer legs.

Myrtle married at nineteen and became pregnant, a year after the marriage. She then became sick. She constantly had fevers and could not stop vomiting. When the foetus was four months old, the doctor suggested she should get an abortion since her life was in danger. After running some tests, the doctors found out that the foetus was in the left uterus. This surprised Myrtle and she said that ‘if it had been on my right side I would come nearer to believing you are correct.’ It was apparent from her comment that she used the right side of her body for sexual intercourse. The abortion was successful, and after her recovery, Myrtle had children with her husband with no complications.

Myrtle was described in the British Medical Journal in 1889, in the following words: ‘She is about five feet high, has fair skin, blue eyes, and curly hair, and is very intelligent. A stranger, to see her in company, would only think her unusually broad across her hips, and with the carriage usual to one with clubbed foot. I have known Mrs. B. since she was a tiny child, as the ‘four-legged girl,’ but never realized the perfect dual development of both external and internal genital organs until she became my patient in case of pregnancy.’

Myrtle was a medical phenomenon that the world had never seen before. She lived a full, normal life, with a loving husband and children, despite the apparent disability she was born with.

She died in May 1928, and her family had to enclose her casket in a concrete box to protect her from grave robbers. Her family was even offered a substantial sum of money for her remains by collectors and scientists. They refused the sum since they believed Myrtle should be allowed to rest in peace like a normal person.

People were initially attracted to her because of the strange nature of her physique, but they stayed around her because of her gentle and loving nature. She was an intelligent woman who lived her best life, even though she was called a freak and a monster by many. She is a symbol of hope for everyone. Her story reminds us that one can overcome any shortcoming if one just has the right outlook on life.

London Crime Fiction Books by Paul Asling

For those who seek a story of crime and love.

THESE BOOKS WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH, CRY, AND HAVE YOU GRIPPED THROUGHOUTamzn.to/3l4aQ7h

BRITISH SLAVES

It’s thought the 250 years between 1530 and 1780, the figure could easily have been as high as 1,250,000 – this is only just over a tenth of the Africans taken as slaves to the Americas from 1500 to 1800, but a considerable figure nevertheless.

‘A mariner from London, Henry Hammon, was on the ship the Long Robert of London. On a voyage when the ship was taken by pirates. He and others were carried to Tunis in Barbary, where he was held in great misery. His ransom was set at £80, which the poor young man and his friends could not raise. His wife and children are likely to have starved in his absence.’

The Barbary pirates attacked and plundered as far north as the English Channel. Rule Britannia proclaims ‘Rule, Britannia! Britannia, rule the waves; Britons never will be slaves. But, there was a time when some Britons had been made slaves. For over 300 years, the coast of the southwest of England was at the mercy of Barbary pirates from the coast of North Africa.

Based in the ports of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli. Their number included not only North Africans but also English and Dutch privateers. Their aim was to capture slaves for the Arab slave markets in North Africa. Raiding on land and sea, in August 1625 the pirates raided Mount’s Bay, Cornwall, capturing 60 men, women and children and taking them into slavery. In 1626 boats out of Looe, Penzance, Mousehole and other Cornish ports were boarded, their crews taken captive and the empty ships left to drift. It was feared that there were around 60 Barbary men-of-war prowling the Devon and Cornish coasts, and attacks were now occurring almost daily. After seizing the inhabitants, they sold them off as slaves or for ransom. Some captives were even forced to convert to Islam.

By the early 1600s merchants were regularly complaining of the activities of the pirates, and in 1624 it was reported that over 1500 were held captive by pirates. Many families had difficulty in raising the ransoms and made pleas for help in paying them.

The pirates ventured near to the English coast and attacked the merchant ships, which had begun to sail to Virginia and Newfoundland. In 1625 the Mayor of Poole wrote to the Privy Council demanding that protection be supplied for the ships returning from Newfoundland or they would be lost to the pirates. He reported that ‘Twenty-seven ships and 200 persons had been taken by pirates in ten days.’

The pirates mounted raids on the coastal towns and villages in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, and along the west coast of Ireland. Fishing vessels were vulnerable. The King and Parliament tried to organise defence for these areas and to raise money for the ransoms, but the intervening Civil War hindered any meaningful response to the problem. The periods of the Commonwealth and Restoration of Charles II saw an improved British navy and the problem of coastal raiding was stopped.

In the first half of the 1600s, Barbary pirates from the Barbary Coast of North Africa, authorised by their governments to attack the shipping of Christian countries – ranged all around Britain’s shores. In their lantern-rigged ships, they grabbed ships and sailors, and sold the sailors into slavery. Admiralty records show that during this time the pirates plundered British shipping pretty much at will, taking 466 vessels between 1609 and 1616, and 27 more vessels from near Plymouth in 1625.

Not content with attacking ships and sailors, the corsairs also sometimes raided coastal settlements running their craft onto unguarded beaches, and creeping up on villages in the dark to snatch their victims and retreat before the alarm could be sounded. Almost all the inhabitants of the village of Baltimore, in Ireland, were taken in this way in 1631, and other attacks were launched against coastal villages in Devon and Cornwall. Samuel Pepys gives a vivid account of an encounter with two men who’d been taken into slavery, in his diary of 8 February 1661.

White slaves in Barbary were from impoverished families, and had almost as little hope of buying back their freedom as the Africans taken to the Americas: most would end their days as slaves in North Africa, dying of starvation, disease, or maltreatment.

If you would like more stories like this.  

HAVE A LOOK AT: SHOCKING TALES OF LONDON. https://amzn.to/3qoTx3A

Stories of poverty, violence, love and hope. Shocking Tales of London takes you on a walk-through London’s horrifying side with an absorbing collection of curious tales from one of the world’s greatest cities. This captivating book is packed with remarkable things you probably didn’t know about England’s capital city.  https://amzn.to/3qoTx3A

TREASURE BENEATH THE STREETS OF LONDON

For over 300 years, buried treasure lay undisturbed below one of London’s busiest streets. No one knew it was there until builders demolished a timber-framed building in Cheapside near St Paul’s Cathedral, in June 1912. The building had stood on the site since the 17th century, but the cellars were older and lined with brick.

The workmen were using a pickaxe to excavate in a cellar at 30–32 Cheapside in London, on the corner with Friday Street. They were in for a surprise. In a brick-lined cellar under a chalk floor, the workman cleared the debris and saw what appeared to be a decayed wooden box containing a hidden treasure. In the dank, long-forgotten cellar, the gems spilled onto the muddy floor and experienced their first light of day after 300 years of concealment.

The hoard included large amounts of jewellery crafted with gemstones from around the world, including rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. The pieces were intricate and varied—the emerald items alone included a carving of a parrot, bunches of grapes, a lizard, and a completely unique carving of a clock.

There were 500 items, making the collection easily the most significant find of its type. Yet no one knows who it belonged to or why it was left there.

The hoard has been dated to the middle of the 17th century, perhaps during the English Civil War. The area was home to several jewellers and goldsmiths, and it’s entirely possible one of them buried the goods for safekeeping while he went off to fight, then never made it back. It was a dreadful time in England. The outbreak of civil war in 1642 ultimately resulted in an overthrow of the monarchy and the execution of King Charles I in 1649.

Unrest and political upheaval may have caused the hoard’s owner to hide his prized possessions, as many jewellers took up arms to fight. More uncertainty followed, including the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and the return from exile of Charles II, son of the former king. Over the centuries, the bubonic plague had swept through Europe and Britain in waves, culminating in 1665–1666 with the Great Plague of London, which killed about 15% of the population. Those who had the means fled the city to avoid the deadly epidemic.



In 1666, a fire that started in a bakery spread quickly through the city. In less than three days it consumed over 13,000 buildings, including St. Paul’s Cathedral, about a block away from the hoard. The Great Fire of London, as it came to be known, destroyed most of the city’s wooden structures, including those above the site of the treasure. Evidence of fire damage found during the Cheapside excavations led experts to conclude that the jewels were buried no later than 1666. It is unlikely that the owner of the hoard perished in the fire, as very few casualties were actually recorded.

The workers that found the items took them, still covered in mud and dirt, to a jewellery dealer known as Stony Jack. Jack had made it known to the labourers of London that he was more than happy to look at anything they dug up. He bought the pieces for a tidy sum and negotiated in secret to give them to the newly opened London Museum. The treasures continue to be shown today.

Many unanswered questions surround this extraordinary find. Who was the owner? Why did he hide the treasure, and why was it never claimed? 

If you would like more stories like this.  

SHOCKING TALES OF LONDON. https://amzn.to/3qoTx3A

Stories of poverty, violence, love and hope. Shocking Tales of London takes you on a walk-through London’s horrifying side with an absorbing collection of curious tales from one of the world’s greatest cities. This captivating book is packed with remarkable things you probably didn’t know about England’s capital city.  https://amzn.to/3qoTx3A

VICTORIAN RULES FOR BEING A GOOD WIFE

‘Your marriage will be happier if you do not have aspirations.’

Have you ever wished you could live in an earlier, more romantic era?

The following pieces are from various guides for married women, published during the Victorian age.

Don’t have sex for pleasure.

Doing so led to diseases like cancer, or at least that’s what some Victorian-era experts thought. It’s perfectly fine if pleasure is a side effect of the attempts to procreate. After all, it’s good for your husband’s ego and prowess. But you’re not a prostitute, so you shouldn’t be seeking marital relations for pleasure alone. If you do, you’re going to get cancer. Or something worse.

Having intercourse for carnal reasons alone is like allowing your husband to use you like a prostitute. A full three-fourths of diseases in women are the result of engaging in non-reproductive sex. Bearing children is what women are made for. Having children is an investment. You finance your retirement with mother’s milk. Not only that, by the time your oldest daughter is seven, she’ll be doing a quarter of the housework.

Do not confront your husband if he is cheating with some pretty little thing.

Alexander Walker, in his 1840 book Women, Physiologically Considered, As To Mind, Morals, Marriage, Matrimonial Slavery, Infidelity, and Divorce tells the story of a woman who discovers her husband has a mistress. She found that the girl, who was poor and thus easily seduced, was living in a shabby apartment. So, she arranged to have it nicely decorated, as befitted a woman worthy of her husband’s taste. Ladies, that is what you do with a cheating husband. Men have their foibles. After all, you are the one he has to support. Because he owns you. Besides, it’s pious and godly to understand that men have their needs.

Good wives don’t go out alone.

It makes you look like a streetwalker. We all know what a streetwalker is, right? A streetwalker is any woman walking the streets by herself in the Victorian era. If you go out alone, you are virtually indistinguishable from a beggar or a whore. So, go with him. Or find an old crone to accompany you. Or a bunch of married women. Moral safety in groups.

A good wife understands the importance of a well cooked and timely meal.

Food had to be coaxed from the earth or chased down and killed. You could buy canned food, but there was no FDA, no regulation, and Louis Pasteur didn’t teach the world about bacteria until 1864. Ketchup was tinted with rust to make it redder, and bakers increased the weight of their bread by adding chalk or grit. I wish I was kidding. Also, no refrigeration, and it’s up to you to ensure that your family doesn’t get food poisoning because, honey girl, food poisoning tends to make men very grumpy. A man who partakes of a badly cooked dinner is sure to be dyspeptic, quarrelsome, snappish and unamiable. Take warning, oh ye wives! and look to the dinners of your husbands, and know how dinners ought to be cooked.

Don’t complain about feeling unequal.

You are not equal, and you’re never going to be. You have to do what he says, no matter how absurd, tyrannical or misguided. You will be told what you can and can’t do and what you can and can’t have. And it’s your own fault. Because you have the same chromosomes as Eve, who brought sin into the world. So, there you have it. That’s why men are superior.

Your marriage will be happier if you do not have aspirations.

You may have talents. You sing like a bird, you’re a brilliant writer, a fantastic teacher, but that makes you bad marriage material. So, hide those aspirations. Good wives don’t have careers. That’s an insult to your husband. A very, very grave insult. First, it implies you think he isn’t competent enough to provide. Secondly, it indicates you’re not 100% invested in him and the family you create together. And that’s what you were born for.

So, there you have it, ladies. Aren’t you glad you live now?

If you would like more stories like this.  

SHOCKING TALES OF LONDON. https://amzn.to/3qoTx3A

Stories of poverty, violence, love and hope. Shocking Tales of London takes you on a walk-through London’s horrifying side with an absorbing collection of curious tales from one of the world’s greatest cities. This captivating book is packed with remarkable things you probably didn’t know about England’s capital city.  https://amzn.to/3qoTx3A

London Crime Fiction Books by Paul Asling

THESE BOOKS WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH, CRY, AND HAVE YOU GRIPPED THROUGHOUT.  https://amzn.to/3qoTx3A